Throwing Muses
Kristin Hersh
Get Involved!

"The Bay Never Freezes" by Kristin Hersh, March 5 2009 (originally published on

“The bay never freezes,” observes little Bodhi, “until it’s frozen.”

And he has a point. Waves are crashing on the sand at the beach down the road, but the boats in the harbor aren’t going anywhere. Trapped in the ice, their goofy names are barely visible on their snow-encrusted sterns: “Aunt Edna” and “Fortitude” are now just “t Ed” and “tit.”

We’d stepped outside this morning and squinted in the sunshine. Just looking up took our breath away, and not only because it’s like, no degrees here. The snow was dazzling, blindingly beautiful, the water a wild silver.

Bo and I stare at the cold boats. “Is somebody on them?” he asks.

“I doubt it.”

“Do you think dogs would wear uniforms if we let them?”

I look down at him. He’s still staring at the boats; he looks very serious. “Well, I never told a dog he couldn’t wear a uniform.”

He looks up at me accusingly. “Did you ever tell one he could?”

“No, I guess not.” This answer disappoints him and he turns back to the still boats.  “Sometimes people dress their dogs up for Halloween…” I offer.

He thinks. “Those Halloween dogs never look happy,” he decides. “I thought a dog with a job could wear, like, a fire helmet. That kind of uniform.”

“Oh…” I say, “but dogs don’t have thumbs.”

Bodhi wrinkles his nose at me. “What’s that got to do with helmets?”

“Well, nothing,” I answer, “but he couldn’t be a firefighter ’cause you need thumbs to hold the hose.”

He stares at me. “Maybe he could be a cowboy.”

He wins. I nod. “A dog could definitely be a cowboy,” I say.

“And wear a cowboy hat.”


“If nobody told him he couldn’t,” he adds.

“Right.” Bo grabs my hand in his mittened paw as we head back up the hill towards home.

“I guess nobody ever told the bay it couldn’t freeze,” he says thoughtfully.